David Griffin has been named General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Mike Brown has been released as Head Coach, the team announced today. Griffin had been acting General Manager since February 6th, 2014. Brown was hired as Head Coach on April 24th, 2013.
“Our ownership group is looking forward to David Griffin leading the basketball side of our business. We interviewed several strong candidates for the GM position including Griff. We chose David as our GM because we believe he is the best person to lead our franchise at this critical time and into the future. David brings over two decades of experience. He knows the ins and outs of this league as well as anyone and is also an outstanding talent evaluator.
“More importantly, he is a general manager who is aligned with our culture and philosophy which is the foundation of how we do business. David is not only passionate about his own job but also cares deeply about the success of everyone around him. His presence alone creates an infectious positive environment with players, coaches, front office people and even our fan base. We already saw some progress in the short time David led our basketball side in the latter part of this past season. Clearly, we have substantial work ahead of us and I am confident that Griff will play an essential part of the growth and success of our organization,” said Dan Gilbert, Majority Owner of the Cavaliers.
The Cavs record was 16-33 (.326) when Griffin became acting GM, then went on to close the season with a 17-16 (.520) record following his appointment. Griffin and the Cavaliers basketball front office staff remain focused on reviewing the past season and preparing for the draft, including the pre-draft player combine in Chicago this week, as well as preparing for the upcoming NBA free agency period.
“Our ownership’s commitment to this franchise and the fans of Cleveland is absolute. I feel that commitment, not only by the resources they make available but also with their tireless passion for delivering a championship-caliber team. Our entire organization reflects that passion and commitment. I am humbled and honored to be put in position to aggressively work with them, all of our front office staff and anyone who can contribute to achieving that vision,” said Griffin.
Griffin joined the Cavaliers as vice president of basketball operations in September 2010. Prior to joining the Cavaliers, he spent 17 seasons with the Phoenix Suns, the last three as the club’s senior vice president of basketball operations after being named to the position in June 2007. Griffin joined the Suns basketball operations group in 1997 and performed various roles with the team including assistant general manager of player personnel, director of player personnel and assistant director of player personnel.
“Over the last several months it has become clear to me that the Cavaliers are on the cusp of reaching the higher level of success that we all want and our fans so greatly deserve. At the same time, it has become apparent that certain changes are needed. We now have the assets to make those necessary changes and additions to our team,” Griffin stated.
Brown finished the 2013-14 season with a 33-49 record and 10th place in the Eastern Conference. He also served as Head Coach of the Cavaliers from 2005-2010 and his life time record with the Cavs was 305-187.
“This is a very tough business. It pains all of us here that we needed to make the difficult decision of releasing Mike Brown. Mike worked hard over this last season to move our team in the right direction. Although, there was some progress from our finish over the few prior seasons, we believe we need to head in a different direction. We wish Mike and his family nothing but the best,” said Gilbert.
“Our ownership support provides the highest level of resources, flexibility and commitment to aggressively do whatever we believe needs to be done in order to win. There is no harder working or better human being in our league than Mike,” Griffin added. “This was not an easy decision. We thank Mike for his efforts and wish him, his wife Carolyn, and their family only the best.”
According to the Akron Beacon Journal, “Brown’s second reign in Cleveland lasted 384 days. Owner Dan Gilbert hired him back prior to last season and admitted he made a mistake in firing him the first time — only to fire him again after one season. Gilbert will swallow the remaining four years on the deal and the balance of the $20 million contract Brown signed just last summer, a staggering amount of guaranteed money to pay a fired coach, particularly since Gilbert paid two coaches last season while finishing the final year on Byron Scott’s deal. Now the Cavs will begin next season with their third coach in as many years, while Gilbert has now parted ways with three general managers and four head coaches since purchasing the team nine years ago. Brown went 33-49 last season and the Cavs missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. Gilbert brought Brown back to fix the Cavs’ defense, which was worst in the league during the 2012-13 season.”
Griffin is leading an immediate search for the Cavaliers’ new Head Coach. The current Cavaliers assistant coaches remain under contract and working with the team.
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